Archive for April, 2006

The United States and Lebanon: A Meddlesome History
26 April 2006

While the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon one year ago was certainly a positive development, claims by the Bush administration and its supporters that the United States deserves credit are badly misplaced. On the first anniversary of the ousting of Syrian forces by a popular nonviolent movement, it is important to recognize that American calls in recent years for greater Lebanese freedom and sovereignty from Syrian domination have been viewed by most Lebanese as crass opportunism. Indeed, few Americans are aware that for decades the United States pursued policies which seriously undermined Lebanon’s freedom and sovereignty.

Iraq Three Years after “Liberation”
21 April 2006

Three years after U.S. forces captured Baghdad, Iraqis are suffering from unprecedented violence and misery. Although Saddam Hussein was indeed one of the world’s most brutal tyrants, the no-fly zones and arms embargo in place for more than a dozen years prior to his ouster had severely weakened his capacity to do violence against his own people. Today, the level of violent deaths is not only far higher than during his final years in power, but the sheer randomness of the violence has left millions of Iraqis in a state of perpetual terror. At least 30,000 Iraqi civilians have died, most of them at the hands of U.S. forces but increasingly from terrorist groups and Iraqi government death squads. Thousands more soldiers and police have also been killed. Violent crime, including kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery, is at record levels. There is a proliferation of small arms, and private militias are growing rapidly. A Lebanon-type multifaceted civil war, only on a much wider and deadlier scale, grows more likely with time.